Cloud computing has been in the IT agenda for some years now, but with it evolving at such a fast pace, many are sceptical about taking the first step into the cloud. SERVAAS VENTER dispels five myths of the Hybrid Cloud.
Cloud computing has been on the IT agenda of most enterprises for the past few years. However, as you might expect of an emerging technology, it’s evolving fast and, as a result, what some businesses might have understood about public, private and hybrid cloud may no longer be true. It’s clear organisations and IT departments are struggling to understand what a true hybrid cloud is so we’re debunking the top five myths:
Myth One: I have public cloud services. I have private cloud infrastructure. Therefore I have hybrid cloud…
Owning or investing in private and public infrastructures without having a joined-up plan can land you with the benefits of neither but the risks of both. For example, local or industry data protection regulations may require that data be encrypted according to certain protocols or stored within a specific geography. Additionally, the ‘agility’ benefits of public cloud may be negated by the costs required to migrate an app from a public cloud test environment to a private cloud ‘production’ environment.
Furthermore, a well-built hybrid cloud solution should be a blending of public and private cloud environments that share a common orchestration layer. This means that data is managed and distributed in a way that optimises workloads, storage and network resources whilst, at the same time, limits organisational risk, increases productivity and delivers agility. Simply deploying isolated public and private cloud solutions isn’t really the same thing.
In short, you must have a plan, and the proper tools in place, to ensure your private and public clouds can work together.
Myth Two: It’s impossible to have a secure public cloud
There’s a myth that only data within the corporate firewall is secure. False. Today, some public cloud service providers offer encryption and security that’s equal to, or might even exceed, that which you get in typical private cloud infrastructures.
Security in the public cloud is about more than encryption though. Shared resources, international hosting and access also have their parts to play. What’s critical is that the right data is treated in the right way. Certain types of data should always go to a private cloud, other data needs to go to very specific types of public cloud, and a third category of data can be stored more flexibly.
When partnering with public-cloud providers, business should be asking: “Am I covered by relevant data sovereignty regulation?”, “Who has access to my data?” And, “Can I move the data if I need to?”
Not all data is suitable for the public cloud and not all public clouds are created equal. This, again, underscores the requirement for an intelligent orchestration layer and a clearly architected strategy to map data to the cloud.
Myth Three: You can use the public cloud for everything, so who needs hybrid?
Let’s be clear: putting some data or workloads into public resources, unless they are very carefully controlled public resources, could land you in violation of local or industry specific data protection regulations, and at huge risk. The laws around this are different in every market and are constantly under review as a range of breaches, consumer rights issues and surveillance methods are constantly changing our perceptions on how data can best be protected.
Conversely, that doesn’t mean every bit of data has to reside in the private cloud; rather an intelligent approach is required to match data to the type of storage that best meets its needs.
The success of many of the world’s most innovative organisations is built upon well-designed hybrid clouds. Many of our favourite social networks, which juggle millions of users whilst delivering updates and new services, are utilizing hybrid cloud infrastructures.
Myth Four: You lose all control of data in the cloud:
Whilst adoption of cloud services continues to increase each year, concerns persist; fear of loss of control and lack of compliance from some of the largest providers outweighs the significant benefits that businesses could see. In some cases, these concerns are well founded: some cloud players can make it hard to extract or migrate your data, deliberately or incidentally, by virtue of the mobility of the data or application in question.
Yet it’s possible to retain control in the cloud, as part of a properly orchestrated hybrid cloud environment. A well-run hybrid cloud has the ability to efficiently deliver resources, empowering IT to be a broker of cloud services, providing the control and visibility the IT department needs, and the on-demand self-service that developers and application users expect. Users can easily provision standardised services directly from an application marketplace portal, delivered from private and public clouds, set by the demands each workload requires, but built on policies set by IT.
Myth Five: The hybrid cloud isn’t for my industry:
It’s easy to think that some industries deal exclusively in data that’s too sensitive to have anything stored in the public cloud – healthcare and finance spring to mind. But, often, what we mean is that some industries will never be able to put all their information in the public cloud. And these then become the sort of organisations that benefit most from a hybrid approach.
Sure, hospitals need to exercise the most extreme levels of caution with patient records, but what about catering information? What about data on their laundry? How sensitive is the stationery order? You don’t want to bear the increased costs of protecting non-sensitive data in state-of-the-art facilities. This is where strategic planning of the hybrid cloud becomes so important.
Many enterprises have already embarked on a journey to the hybrid cloud. This will continue throughout 2015 as businesses look to the cloud for burst resources, data protection, archive, storage tiering and more.
This growth is being driven by factors including greater bandwidth, lower storage costs and enhanced security, combined with the need for greater scale. An increasing number of third-platform businesses like Netflix have become adopters of hybrid cloud, driven by the need to scale at a moment’s notice, but who also understand the growing complexities around securing data across international boundaries.
The competitive advantages in adopting a hybrid cloud strategy are hard to argue. Forward looking enterprises that are able to see through the myths have the opportunity to completely transform the economics of IT service delivery… and their entire business in the process.
* Servaas Venter, Country Manager, EMC Southern Africa
* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA
Get your passwords in shape
New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.
Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions. Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.
Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.
I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords
Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication. However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.
As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.
But what constitutes a strong password? A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).
Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to
Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future
By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.
On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:
- A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
- Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
- Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.
With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.
Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.
In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.
As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:
AFRICA CODE WEEK
Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.
In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.
The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.
Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.
SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)
A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.
According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.
Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.